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89° Capitulum Generale Ordinis Carmelitarum Discalceatorum
Avila 28th April 18th May 2003
Information * N. 03
The South American group prepared the morning´s Liturgy of the Hours, since the plan is to have the first three days´ liturgies in Spanish even though we celebrated one of the three co-patronesses of Europe, St. Catherine of Siena. After breakfast Fr. Teofanes Egido delivered a historical consideration of the founding of the Discalced Carmelite Friars by St. Teresa of Jesus. He reminded us that St. Teresa was the first woman in the history of the Church to found an order of men, even in the midst of extreme difficulties.
Furthermore, he pointed out that her work presented a sharp contrast between its new style of religious life founded on the practice of virtue, a humanistic view of relations, appreciation for culture and an evangelizing outreach on one hand, and her contemporary society´s insistence on extravagant forms of penance reckoning sanctity as the exercise of rigorism and disregard of culture on the other.
After an interesting dialogue with the speaker (joined by this scribe, as the Q & A session evolved by approaching either of two floor microphones), the group went out to the buses for a trip to Alba de Tormes. There we were welcomed by our Nuns at their monastery so we could see the room where Holy Mother St. Teresa said her famous “Come, it is time to go” and the tomb where most of her mortal remains now lie. At the tomb one of the sisters in the little room accompanied our visit by playing a psaltery, thereby inducing a very respectful, prayerful mood in the visitors. Eucharist was celebrated in the nearby church of the friars (the first ever to be dedicated to St. John of the Cross, when we was still a Blessed). In the homily Fr. General described the life´s arc of St. Teresa as a model for our times, having pointed out the grace of seeing yesterday her birthplace and today the place where she died.
Lunch was taken in a restaurant, then we headed for Duruelo and Fontiveros to mark the birth of St. John of the Cross and of the Discalced Reform among the friars. It came as somewhat of a surprise, to this scribe at least, to discover a freshly mounted statue of Madre Maravillas high on a plinth right next to the votive chapel that commemorates the first monastery of friars that St. Teresa herself visited more than 400 years ago. Both chapel and the nearby monastery of Nuns belong to a community using the 1990 version of the Nuns´ Constitutions.
All the traveling about as pilgrims has deepened the fraternal affection of the chapter members and is proving to be restful in its own way. Tomorrow we travel to Segovia for the last of our scheduled side-trips as a Chapter. Tune in again for details of that excursion and other of the day´s events.
Updated 29 apr 2003 - Page maintained by O.C.D. General House